What is Vulvodynia?
The external female genital area is called the vulva. Pain that affects this vulva area is very common. Vulvodynia is pain that lasts for 3 months or longer and is not caused by an infection, skin disorder, or other medical condition.
If you have Vulvodynia, gentle care of the vulva is best. Avoid products and other items that may be irritating. The following may be helpful in relieving or reducing symptoms:
No. 1 Wear 100% Cotton Underwear
Cotton panties offer softness, absorbency and breath ability. Its softness is gentle on your skin, its absorbency wicks away perspiration, and its breath ability facilitates evaporation of moisture that might otherwise be trapped by synthetics like nylon or lycra and could encourage the growth of bacteria. These could lead to yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
No. 2 Avoid Douching
Douching can change the necessary balance of vaginal flora (bacteria that live in the vagina) and natural acidity in a healthy vagina. A healthy vagina has good and harmful bacteria. The balance of bacteria helps maintain an acidic environment. The acidic environment protects the vagina from infections or irritation. Douching can cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and lead to harmful infections that can spread further up into your uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease which is a very serious health problem.
No. 3 Research Your Lubricant
Use lubricants during sex, but avoid lubricants with flavor or cooling/warming sensation. We recommend Slippery Stuff Personal Lubricant This is a personal lubricant that enhances the pleasure of human contact. It is an Ultra slick, silky gel that is water-based, water soluble, safe hygienic, odorless, non-staining and long lasting.
No. 4 Use Gently Cleansing Methods
Clean the vaginal area with water only. Avoid irritants, such as perfumes, dyes, shampoos, detergents, and deodorants. Rinse and pat the vulva with water and dry after urinating. After bathing, apply a thin layer of a preservative-free oil or petroleum jelly to hold in moisture and protect the skin. Use cool gel packs on the vulva.
No. 6 Switch To 100% Cotton Pads & Tampons
Some sanitary products are made with synthetic non-breathable fibers as well as harsh chemicals. Switching to an all natural, 100% cotton pad may decrease exposure to these chemicals which may be irritation to the vagina and the cotton will allow the area to breath.
No. 7 Use Magnetic Vaginal Dilators
Use Magnetic Vaginal Dilators on a regular basis to relax muscles and decrease pain. Vaginal dilators are used to regenerate vaginal capacity, expand the vaginal walls, add elasticity to the tissues, and to allow for comfortable sexual intercourse. VuVa Magnetic Vaginal Dilators are smooth lightweight plastic, that come in a variety of graduated sizes. Soothing Neodymium magnets are within each dilator to increase blood flow and relieve sexual discomfort while soft tissue lengthens, relaxing muscles and ligaments. As the tissue relaxes, the Neodymium magnets increase blood flow to the painful area calming nerves.
If you have vulvar pain during sex, your gynecologist or other health care professional will try to rule out the most common causes of vulvar pain first. You may be asked questions about your symptoms, sexual, medical and surgical history. You may be asked when symptoms occur, what treatments you have tried, and whether you have any allergies, chronic infections, or skin problems.
Your gynecologist also will examine the vulva and vagina carefully. A sample of discharge from the vagina may be taken. Your gynecologist may use a cotton swab to touch areas of the vulva. The goal is to find where the pain is and whether it is mild, moderate, or severe. You also may have a biopsy of the vulvar skin.